Common Ground

Watching events unfold across this beautiful country, I struggled to find something that maybe everyone may have in common, or could agree that is good for all. Impossible task you say? A week ago I would have agreed with you, then it hit me.

Regardless of race, color, religion, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, there is something. It does not matter where you are from, what you do, what you did, or will do, there is something. Something so available, something so simple and infectious it cannot be stopped.

Music. A melody of a guitar, African drum, didgeridoo, Erhu, it does not matter. Music is in all of us. A raw form of expression, emotion, and piece of soul that is shared to the world. A universal language that needs no words, yet everyone can hear and even understand.

Adding the written word to music makes it even more powerful. Adding a political platform because of a successful music career is exploiting music as a whole. A person does not even need to understand the language to get even a small understanding of what a musician is trying to convey. Music at some point, has had nearly everyone stop and say, “This is my jam” or can simply associate with even the simplest song. A parent’s lullaby to a baby or a ripping hair metal power ballad, they go beyond just words, they grab you and hold on for just a short time.

The Blues told detailed stories of the deep south and was the foundation of so many other genres of music. Opera was derived from storytelling of Greek Mythology. Country Music started with fiddle players from the Southern Appalachian Mountains who told their stories in the common language of music.

Is this a cure, nope. Is a start, maybe. Is music an important part of every culture, I most definitely believe that. Humans tend to associate with music of theirs and other cultures, and that is a beautiful thing.

My point is this: We live in the greatest country in the world, and if you do not care for it, the world is a large place,  I encourage you to go explore it and find your utopia. And if you do, I guarantee music helped shape wherever it is you land.

I too associate with a demographic, but it is quite different that some of the craziness that we see on television and news outlets. You see, my demographic has is color blind. My demographic relies on the strength of different opinions. My demographic is a brother and sisterhood that stands together in the face of adversity. My demographic is that I am an American. As an American, music, specifically the National Anthem represents my brothers and sisters. More importantly our National Anthem is a reminder why we have the rights to protest peacefully, own a business, go to school, speak out. It also reminds of the cost of these opportunities and freedoms. Changing something that represents Americans is nothing more that encouraging division. We all have rights, and our rights are going to infringe on each other’s from time to time. It happens. I will not always agree with you, but that does not mean we cannot have a beer. That difference, that conversation, that is what makes America great. We must learn from our past, no human can change then, only now. If it takes something as beautiful as music to have people actually listen, count me in.

Thank you to the musicians I know for not only playing, but creating some of the best music out there. Alyssa Ruffin, Blind Joe, Josh Frank, Josh Kehr, TACOCAT, Black Light Nightmare, Corndog Kings. Take a listen to what these very different individuals have to say through their music, maybe we can all learn something.

Rock on!



Positive isn’t Always the News

I have noticed something lately, and it’s not a negative thing and definitely deserves attention. During these strange times, it’s obvious how negative stories can dominate headlines, because apparently that is the news. Yet right in front of all of us are real acts of kindness, heart, and compassion.

I am seeing true American ingenuity. For example, several of our fitness experts and gym owners like Dion SgroMariah Prussia, and April Imholte are providing online workouts for people to do in their homes. I am seeing parents teaching their children about cooking, conserving resources, and using technology to teach their children who are currently at home due to this situation. People like Rozalyn Howery taking her children on virtual tours of many places in the world through the internet and reading books.

Our small businesses, like restaurants are offering carryout services. These Americans are still there, still serving our communities.

Even social clubs are encouraging online groups to help maintain some socialization. It’s different, but allows some level of interaction and a breath of normal.

American resilience and ingenuity has always prevailed, and always will. We can take a lesson from those like Teresa Terry who understand the gravity of these times, but know how to find the best in not only the situation, but their fellow Americans, encouraging people to remember compassion.

People like Dave Jopp who encourage music and keep people entertained through radio.

People like Sandy Zok who offer their expertise to those who may need some type of social service.

People like Josh Kehr, who continues to play excellent music and offers help to those who may need deliveries or anything else.

These are just a small sample of the positive things happening during this time.

In the end, this virus, like any other virus or crisis, does not discriminate against your skin color, past, present, ethnicity, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. In the end, we will prevail as we always have. In the end, we are all still human. Be kind and compassionate to those most vulnerable in our society.

Reach out should you need help, it is out there. Support your local small businesses, neighbors, and friends. Thank you for being a great American.

Where Have the Leaders Gone?

Everyone seems to have had that one boss that was just outstanding.  You know the one, they stood up for you, had great balance and maintained some level of common sense.  Unfortunately, that characteristic seems to be as rare as a leprechaun and pot of gold. Everyone has also had that boss or supervisor that was just plain horrible. The difference between leadership and management is striking, and I am afraid we are losing our leaders.


To best understand leadership, I feel that it is important to break the word down.  Leader defines the individual, an adjective.  A person’s character, integrity, and values tend to be what constructs a leader.

Leadership is an act by that individual. The application of all of these traits constitutes leadership.  There is a beginning of leadership, and two obvious things can happen.  The person continues to be a leader throughout there life.  The other is that the leadership ends.  The ending of leadership can happen in so many ways:

  1. Corruption
  2. Voluntarily
  3. Through force
  4. Death


I think if a person is discussing leadership, we must focus on what leadership is not. Leadership is not:

  1. Management
  2. Discipline
  3. A title
  4. An event
  5. By default


 Throughout my different occupations, I have had a variety of managers.  Some managers were terrific,  and others had absolutely no business being a position to make decisions for a collective group.  The latter were often placed in these positions by attrition, seniority, and even corruption.  I will refer to these mangers as “The Lost”.

I think The Lost is a good term simply because these individuals are placed with responsibilities that they are incapable of handling.  Simple tasks where a person is told what to do by a senior official does not make them a leader of humans, it makes them a conduit of information.  They may have experience in one or two important actions, but are completely incapable of leading a team, or even one person, to a sustainable outcome.


There will always be rules.  If you work for the government, you will find that rules are plentiful and often changing.  The ambiguity of some of the workplace rules make them ripe for interpretation.  There in lies a huge problem.  We are left to the interpretation of the rules by under qualified, overwhelmed manager who likely is not going to give full credit to a particular situation.  The ambiguity of these rules also make them ripe for fraud.  One rule seemingly may not apply to certain individuals and before anyone can say lawsuit, morale, upward mobility, and trust is eliminated by the masses.

Leaders may be called upon to discipline subordinates, which is perfectly acceptable however; there needs to be a beginning, middle, and end to discipline.   In the end, what is the ultimate goal of discipline?  Why take the time an effort to discipline if the ultimate goal is not rehabilitation.  If I am a company owner with employees, fairness, equal justice, and remedy are the virtues that will make the employee not only rehabilitate, but also bring respect to the workplace.


I could call myself a doctor but I assure you that you would not want me to provide you any medical advice.  A person can become a lawful ordained minister online in a matter of minutes.

Far too often we promote those who are motivated by the wrong reasons.  A title is nothing more that a cloak that ultimately offers no protection for the individual or for whom they are responsible. The title given to an individual is nothing more than mere words if they are failing to truly manage themselves or anyone around them.

I have had managers that have had very limited experience come in and try to do what they believed was the right thing, which was the worst thing.  The decades of experience they had to draw from was pushed by the wayside, immediately causing distrust, lack of any respect, and ultimately destroyed the morale of the entire group. This manager hid behind the cape of manager until their own people essentially rebelled, removing the security blanket the title brought the manager. It’s a slippery slope, and this manger was sliding fast.

An Event

Events happen in the workplace.  A bad senior manager that may be paranoid about losing control will sometimes stack the deck with subordinate managers simply to do their bidding. Now two non-leaders are in the management cycle, playing off each other like a late night argument between spouses.

Not selecting the most experienced or best candidate for the job is cancer.  There is no cure for it except to remove one, if not both before the whole system falls apart.  This happens over and over again.  There is not necessarily one reason this happens.  A combination of Equal Opportunity Laws (EEO), politics, self interest, and corruption, these incapable managers are selected and simply nod yes to everything that comes across their desk.  There is no thought, confrontation, or decision making needed to be in this management situation and it happens in every sector of the workplace.


If you ever wonder why certain people have skills to make a career out of politics this make not surprise you.  Under table deals, agreements, understandings between corporations and the candidate can be a few reasons.  Another less thought of, but obvious reason is because there isn’t a quality candidate running against them, or no one running at all.

This is not the end of this conversation, and definitely worth exploring further.  Stay tuned!


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